Letter to the Editor: Net neutrality rule bad for consumers, industry


We work in the broadband industry for Shentel, a midsized company serving rural areas in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.  The FCC’s recent work on broadband Internet policies, loosely referred to as “net neutrality,” rose like summer thunderstorms scaring consumers, encouraging them to take shelter in the safe confines of an FCC regulatory environment — originally designed for the railroad industry in the 1930s.

Shentel, along with the other 840 small and mid-sized cable operator members of the American Cable Association, has always advocated for, and provided, an open Internet.  However, the uncertainty created by the FCC’s new rule on net neutrality is the worst possible outcome for the industry and consumers.  This action will adversely impact an industry already trying to navigate difficult issues and keep up with a constantly changing technological landscape.

Broadband is an important service for the health of a community.  It is key to education, health care, and economic development in all communities, but especially in rural communities.  There are many lawmakers, like Congressman Bob Goodlatte, asking common sense questions about the harm created by the FCC’s new rule — questions that should have been addressed properly before the agency issued a final rule.

Call your congressman and senators.  Ask them to find a more balanced approach — one that continues Virginia’s dynamic and entrepreneurial approach to technology while protecting consumers from potential market abuses from the content providers [Google/Netflix] and the service providers responsible for broadband infrastructure.   Let’s identify real issues and then craft an appropriate solution.

The FCC’s actions to extend old telecommunication regulations to broadband under the headline of “net neutrality” will negatively impact Shentel’s continued investment in broadband and its pursuit to achieve faster Internet access for rural Virginia residents and businesses in the Shenandoah Valley. Congressman Goodlatte is asking the right questions about the right approach to protecting an open Internet.  Unless the courts reverse this rule, everyone will lose with the FCC’s decision.

Earle MacKenzie,  EVP/Chief Operating Officer, American Cable Association Board Member
Chris Kyle, Vice President, Regulatory